Harbin resident Ann Prehn — long-time editor of the quarterly print publication — provides an ongoing glimpse behind the scenes of our retreat center in this new Harbin blog. Check in regularly for insights into our history, consciousness, creativity, growth, spirituality, and the universe around us. To contact Ann, e-mail email@example.com.
The Harbin Quarterly Magazine ceased printing last December. After twenty-eight years, who missed it? Not many, it seems; perhaps as some implied, it was antiquated. It certainly used a lot of paper.
There is a place, however, where the Quarterly’s demise was noted and sincerely regretted – the Harbin Restaurant. Five bundles a week went out of there. People liked to sit on the deck or in the morning sunlight that streams through the East-facing windows, and read the Quarterly over their organic breakfasts. (One could perhaps go upstairs to the internet cafe that’s behind the coffee shop, and read The Harbin Post, but it’s not quite the same thing.)
Well, leave it to Harbin literary buffs to fill the void. This month sees the advent of the Cynefin (google it), available only in the Restaurant, stuffed with poetry and musings about Harbin and the inner truths of Harbin residents and guests.
So now there is new literary excellence to go with sunshine and coffee, delectable culinary masterpieces, and the always wonderful art show on the walls. What could be better? (Well, maybe a massage and a soak.)
There’s always a sense of expectation when Harbin’s founder, Ishvara, enters the room. He’ll be 80 this month; his limp is more pronounced, his posture less upright, his hand has a slight tremor and his voice rasps. His eyes, however, are as clear as ever, piercing blue, kindly and formidable at the same time. For those of us who have lived here awhile, the impact of Ishvara’s creation on our lives summons respect and reverence. For new residents, he and his creation are an enigma, and they wonder whether they should stay, whether Harbin will live up to their hopes and ideals. Especially the younger ones are full of questions about community and the 9,000 acres of land that Harbin caretakes. They look at Harbin’s perceived shortcomings and look to Ishvara for answers. Such a group of new residents was present in the Ministers Training class that met with Ishvara recently to discuss his book, Oneness in Living.
When I came to Harbin 26 years ago, I had the same trepidation that the newbies do now, so I recognized the veiled and careful form of the questions that were put to him. “How does Harbin live up to your original vision? Is there anything that disappoints you?” I surmised the questioners were really saying what they say more openly to each other: “Why isn’t Harbin solar? Why don’t we grow more of our own food?”
In the past, Ishvara would have understood the implied criticism. Depending on his mood, he might even have been defensive. But time has softened him, and the firebrand of old has become a mellow man. I knew this, but I was not prepared for his reply. His eyes filled with tears and his voice choked. “Harbin is so much better than I ever could have imagined,” he said. “Especially the people. I never imagined such good people would come here.”
With those few words, his audience suddenly saw through his eyes the magnificent and impossible changes that had gone before, the dilapidated resort around a sacred springs that Ishvara bought in 1972 and has become an unsurpassed place of spiritual healing.
Some of the young people in the Ministers Training that night will stay at Harbin and are destined to make more magnificent and impossible changes happen. It is their vision and ideals that will shape the future, inspired by and building on the accomplishments of the past.
Happy 80th year, Ishvara, and thank you so much for creating Harbin.
~Ann Prehn, Editor of the Harbin Post
In this connected world of social media, it’s easy to get addicted to seeing what others are doing, and wondering if we are “missing out.” Check out an alternative viewpoint in this blog posting, exploring the Joys Of Missing Out…
Have you ever had a moment during a busy day where your consciousness shifted, and you suddenly saw the visual world in a new way? A sunset or a dramatic vista or colorful urban festival might have caught your breath. Or maybe it was a simple leaf, floating on water. Or the rays of sunshine on your kitchen table. Or a child asleep.
Thanks to the work of professional and amateur photographers, National Geographic has been presenting us with stunning visual images from around the world for many years now. If you love photography, or seeing in a new way, check out their photography site, including the photo of the day feature. http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography
We often see Harbin guests looking a bit strained during their first hours of a retreat once they realize that they’ve entered a wifi-free world. Sure, they can use the cyber cafe by the library, but the payment system and fixed location are (purposely) inconvenient. So most decide to grin and “bare it” with a soak in the pools, or hike, or yoga class, or kirtan. And they begin to realize how many hours a day they now have for more interesting endeavors.
If you’d like to try bringing this “unplugged” experience back home with you after your visit to Harbin, check out Freedom, a simple computer application for Macs and PCs. http://macfreedom.com It’s just $10, and can be programmed to lock you away from the Internet for up to 8 hours at a time. We haven’t tried it, but they’ve collected some fairly impressive testimonials. Now you just need to find a hot spring in your backyard…
Most of us at Harbin understand the healing and restorative power of massage and other bodywork. So it’s good to see a scientific study reflect our experiences!
Check out this online article and audio coverage from NPR.
Many Harbin guests have attended the transformative events hosted by Essene High Priestess and performance artist Heather Salmon. Her appearances at our Sunday Sound Healing events, as well as full moon, new moon and other celebrations are not to be missed, so check out the Harbin monthly calendar for upcoming dates.
If you’d like to stay connected to Heather’s powerful energy and vision, tune into the Feminine Mystique Radio Show broadcast live every Monday at noon (PST) at www.TheFeminineMystique.com. Be sure to look for her upcoming events and gatherings, including a Spring Renewal Retreat at Harbin Hot Springs, April 8th-10th.
Many Harbin guests comment after their first Watsu® that “it was like returning to the womb,” and similar experiences are often recounted by participants in our Quantum Light Breath gatherings. What is it about our consciousness (or unconsciousness) that is called to the womb experience?
In an exploration of the inherent desire to return to the womb, San Francisco’s Market Street Gallery is pleased to present Womb Nostalgia, a visual art & performance art exhibition, featuring works of art that recreate the experience of that original place. The exhibition features painting, photography, drawing, video, sculpture and installation art by Rachelle Reichert, Rachel Znerold, Reneé Wilson, Kathryn Virginia Harmon, Sonya Genel, Monique Atherton, Kelly Jean Egan, + Audrey V. Haller.
The opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 5th, 2011, from 7 PM – 10 PM, including music, performance, and poetry by Kelly Vogel, Reneé Wilson, David Ryther featuring Julia Hollas, Valerie Chavez, Jonathan Hirsch, Kelly Jean Egan, Gabriel Goldberg, + Michael Warren Grant & Company. The exhibition runs through March 31, 2011.
Womb Nostalgia Visual + Performance Art Event
Market Street Gallery, 1554 Market Street, SF, CA
March 4th – March 31st
Reception: Saturday, March 5th, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
While visiting a friend who had become a Harbin resident, award-winning solo artist Tekki Lomnicki had a few experiences that she thought should be shared with a larger audience. The result is “Clothing Optional,” a funny, touching, and insightful piece about becoming comfortable in your own skin. If you live in Chicago, be on the lookout for Tekki in this one-woman performance on area stages. Or you can book an appearance for your organization or gathering. http://www.tekkilomnicki.com/clothingoptional.php
Also, read Tekki’s account of her first visit to the Harbin pools at
San Francisco, CA. The Commonwealth Club will host a half-day program on “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields with leading international experts Thursday, November 18, 2010. Registration and complimentary light lunch start at 11:15 a.m.; program begins promptly at 12:00 p.m. Tickets $20 members, $32 non-members, $10 students (with ID). Register at Commonwealth Club 415-597-6705 or www.commonwealthclub.org
View Full Program Here
The landmark program at the nation’s premiere public affairs forum is being co-organized by ElectromagneticHealth.org (www.electromagnetichealth.org), in association with Citizens for Health, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Radiation Research Trust, the EMF Safety Alliance and the International EMF Alliance, and will be the largest public forum yet in the United States on the hazards of cell phones, wireless radiation and ‘Smart Meters’.
Increasingly, citizens, as well as children, are complaining of a range of ‘electrosensitivity’ symptoms experienced near sources of microwave radiation, such as cell phones, portable phones, wireless routers, wireless networks in schools, and cell towers, as well as near compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and ‘smart meters’. At the same time, scientists, physicians and environmentalists are warning of a rapidly emerging public health issue, with increasing numbers of people becoming sensitive; immunological and neurological illnesses being linked to it; and numerous species of flora and fauna experiencing serious environmental distress.
Unlike other public health and environmental issues, such as asbestos, lead, DDT, tobacco and a myriad of chemical exposures, hazards of acute and chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields is of extreme concern to many scientists as the entire population is exposed and at risk. Besides the personal and economic suffering of the 3-8% of the population who are today ‘electrically sensitive’, and those who have related cancers and other chronic illnesses, importantly, this form of radiation is known to impair DNA repair processes. The consequences of long-term impact on genetic material remains unknown.
Panelist Martin Blank, PhD of Columbia University, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, says, “DNA, our precious genetic material, is particularly sensitive to electromagnetic fields. If we are to protect our genetic code, it is critical that we take steps as a society to protect DNA from damage. ”
The Commonwealth Club program will feature leading international experts on electromagnetic fields and health, none of whom receive funding from the telecommunications industry.
The Commonwealth Club Program on “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields” hopes to illuminate for the public important science showing health and environmental effects from electromagnetic fields. It is being sponsored by three Commonwealth Club Member-Led Forums–Health and Medicine, Environment and Natural Resources and Science and Technology.